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John Quincy Adams by [Unger, Harlow Giles]
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John Quincy Adams Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 163 customer reviews

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Length: 384 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Editorial Reviews

Review

''A neglected president receives his due as a statesman and practical politician . . . A fine examination of a life, well deserving a place alongside David McCullough's study of Adams pere.'' --Kirkus

''Unger's skills as both a storyteller and political analyst enable him to convey the importance of the personalities and events of early-nineteenth-century America in a detailed and enjoyable manner that will appeal to general readers.'' --Boston Globe on The Last Founding Father

''[Unger's] descriptions . . . are among the most lucid I've read.'' --San Francisco Book Review

''Unger has cornered the market on muses to emerge as America's most readable historian.'' --National Review praise for the author

About the Author

HARLOW GILES UNGER, a former distinguished visiting fellow in American history at George Washington's Mount Vernon, is a veteran journalist, broadcaster, educator, and historian. He is the author of twenty books, including several biographies of America's Founding Fathers. He has also authored histories of the early Republic as well as numerous books on American education. He lives in New York.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3440 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 4, 2012
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EMEH5A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,632 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Author Harlow Giles Unger's relatively brief, fast paced biography of the 6th President of the US is a very worthwhile read both for its content and brisk style. The book moves through 8-decades of American history spanning the beginning of the Revolutionary War to the beginning-of-the-end of American slavery. The chapter containing the War of 1812 flows especially well and is highlighted by the author's shrewd summary remark that it was, "The war that the United States could have won without firing the first shot and ended before they had fired the last."

The author shows great respect for his subject without crossing the line that causes a reader to suspect the author of the bias of having "fallen in love" with his subject. Mr. Unger takes the reader to the brink of resolution of the "Corrupt Bargain", but never decides for us whether or not John Q. offered the State Dept. as a reward for electoral delegates. The take-away from this book (at least for those with heretofore only passing familiarity with the 2nd Mr. Adams) is one of an enlightened new perspective; exchanging the image of a dour failed President for one of the most enlightened, urbane and intellectual presidents to occupy the White House. A failed president still... but there is far more to the man than his presidency, and far more to the failure of the presidency than the man. Even with the newfound perspective, the author doesn't dispute the more familiar historic cliché when he adds that, "John Quincy, on the other hand, was a bit of a grouch." (loc. 3034)

John Q. Adams ended his career and life in the House of Representatives of the the U.S. distinguishing himself with fiery, eloquent oratory. His displays often cast him in the role of the gadfly in the pursuit of abolition.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Quincy seems to be a relatively unknown historical personage perhaps owing to his uninspired term as president or because he occupied the White House in a short interval between the Founding Fathers and the Jacksonians. This is a shame because he led a fascinating life and served the United States as long and as well as any public official in the history of the Republic. The oldest son of John Adams acted as secretary and interpreter for the first American ambassador to Russia at age 14. In his career, he was President, Senator, Secretary of State and ambassador to 6 European nations. Adams often demonstrated that his commitment to public service was more important than the title of his office. He was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate after being recalled from the Berlin Embassy and served for almost 20 years in the US Congress after leaving the White House. In all, John Quincy Adams served in government for two thirds of a century under 10 presidents (not including himself). He was appointed ambassador by Washington and ended his career working with in the House with Abe Lincoln. He served in Congress and the executive branch and turned down appointment to the Supreme Court. His 14,000 page diary covers a period from the Revolution to the eve of the Civil War. Harlow Giles Unger uses Adam's diary in writing this biography, referring to it as "the most complete personal, day-today record of events in the New World and the Old from the 1770s to the 1840s."

More impressive than the title of Adams' positions in government are his accomplishments especially in expanding the United States and in opposing slavery. He worked alone in the Federalist party to secure passage of the Louisiana Purchase and later organized the seizure/annexation of Florida for Monroe.
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Format: Hardcover
While I enjoyed this biography, it's not what one might call exhaustive. Most interesting to me was the first half, which covered his childhood and his experiences and role as US minister to several European countries, which I was not very familiar with. Once past this part, it's more of a brief synopsis of his role in Washington in Monroe's cabinet and his failed Presidency, and then his brilliant career in the House of Representatives (which is covered much better and in more detail in Joseph Wheelan's book "Mr. Adams Last Crusade"). Still, I'm glad I read this, even if it's more of a summary than an in depth biography.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Quincy Adams is fascinating. In this bio, anyone can understand that he lived an interesting life. Unger does not approach the man with insight, which Adams deserves. There are better biographies of JQA, though they are old. Maybe an older age had more sympathy for him. However, Unger writes well and is a good popularizing biographer.

Reading reviews by people who know little of Adams, I feel a little guilty not being satisfied. I was looking for more than I already know and got less. Maybe this is wonderful as an introduction and if you do not know much about JQA, will be just right for you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a remarkable man. He established so much for universities and the Smithsonian. I never knew that. And fought against slavery. Bravo. He sacrificed so much of his personal life to make our country better.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did not know very much about John Quincy Adams before listening to this audible book. But now having heard of his life I am most impressed with his accomplishments. At a time when political parties were just beginning to dominate the American scene, he maintained his independence regardless of its consequences. He became president by wresting the office from Andrew Jackson which led to a very inconsequential one term presidential career. However he reached the height of his career when he was elected following his presidency to the house of representatives as a progress person from his hometown of Quincy Massachusetts. He began immediately to be A most consequential figure in promoting science and education and anti-slavery. He was notorious in asserting his rights of free speech in the House of Representatives fighting the imposition of the Gag Rule in the house for years. Evidently his presidency was a failure because he failed to connect with the people when the populism of Andrew Jackson was preeminent but his success as a congressperson was a result of his becoming a voice of the people. My giving five stars do this book is as much because of my appreciation for the protagonist as for the quality of the writing.
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